Letting Go

I’ve been following this site called “Becoming Minimalist.” If you read my bio (a big thanks by the way if you took the time to do so); you’ll know that I aspire to be a minimalist; which essentially means learning to live with as little as I can. However, I suspect I currently have too many possessions to qualify as being a minimalist. My toaster still sits on the counter and I like filling up flat spaces with stuff. I have baskets of laundry sitting around and an empty ice cream bucket that for whatever reason is currently sitting upside down in my living room. And I swear that the pile of papers on my desk multiplies itself.

The people who live a couple of houses down from us have so many things in their garage that based off of that garage alone, they’d be good candidates for that hoarding show that always makes me want to clean after watching it.  Even my kids-who need periodic reminders to keep their rooms tidy and to pick up after themselves-shake their heads and say “Wow. They have way too much stuff.”  It’s true.  And even though I see them going through stuff constantly, the piles never seem to go down. A couple of months ago another neighbor had a garage sale and the same people whose stacks never seem to go away were at the garage sale, buying more stuff that they probably didn’t need. I see where they may have a problem.

For me, my issue is not about buying stuff that I don’t need (well, for the most part); it’s more about letting go of the things I don’t need anymore.  A few years ago I was moving out of the home I had shared with my husband for over 10 years.  We had made the list of who got what, but it was everything else that I somehow felt I needed to sort through as well.

But as I started sorting through everything,  I was distracted by the memories that virtually everything in the house had.  In my mind, there was really no way to discern between the important stuff/non important stuff.  So I packed everything I could, in a matter of a couple of days.  Which means that I virtually threw everything into boxes to be sorted at a later date.

A day that apparently hasn’t happened yet, because even though I’ve moved two more times since that initial move, I still have boxes that are neatly stacked in my garage.

Anyways, I guess reading posts on the minimalist site has motivated me somewhat, so the other night I decided to start unpacking the stuff.  I was supposed to be studying but I was trying to find a way to put that off. My intent was to sort things according to things I was going to throw away, things I was going to give away, and things I was going to keep.

What I ended up with instead, was three big bags of trash.

That’s right; for almost 4 years I have been toting around boxes of stuff that is essentially junk. Obviously it wasn’t important stuff. The stuff that was most important to me got unpacked a long time ago; and didn’t sit in boxes forever.

Among things I got rid of: a broken jewelery box that my husband gave me when he was still my husband. A bunch of over half used wrapping paper that I will likely never use again. games and puzzles missing half the pieces.  And a lot of other things that aren’t worth mentioning; because they are now on their way to a landfill or charity depending on their condition.

I thought it would be hard, but the more I filled those bags, the freer I felt.

It turns out letting go is going to be easier than I thought.